By the Spirit

 

Dreamer

12 So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 All those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and coheirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:12-17 (HCSB)

Romans 8 is probably my favorite chapter in the whole Bible. There is so much to be taken away from every verse. I highly encourage you to read the whole chapter. In this passage Paul brings us this AWESOME truth! “We are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh.” I think if Paul was around  today he would have posted that on his twitter and finished it of with #boom. But that’s just my personal opinion.  

As believers I think we struggle to really grasp this truth. We tend to give way too much credit to our flesh. We often times listen to our flesh over the Spirit. Our Spirit tells us not to do something but our flesh says yes, so we do it. “But if we live according to the flesh we will die,” says Paul. He goes on to say, “But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

This is what this fast is all about. It’s not about starving ourselves or giving up stuff we like just check it off our Christian duty list. It’s about practicing putting to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit. If we can say no to food or certain types of food or social media or whatever you may be fasting from, how much easier will it be to say no to lusts of the eyes, lusts of the flesh, and pride of life (1 john 2:16) that we will face in the future.

What if we all decided that we were no longer going to be controlled by the flesh, but we were going to live by the Spirit? What would your life look like? What would LifeCoast look like? (Take a moment to answer these questions) Let’s not live by the Spirit for just these 21 days a year, let’s make this an everyday thing!

I dream that the Church as whole will no longer be people simply going through the motions or people who live like everyone except on Sunday mornings. But they will be a people who stand up and stand out. That people will look at the Church as the example, not the exception.

What do you dream?

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Unleavened Bread – ONE Series

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Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 (ESV)

As I was reading this passage these verses stood out to me. Especially the phrase, “Do you no know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” This really got me thinking. Now I know that this passage is speaking about the church as a whole, but if I may be so bold, I would like to apply this to our personal life.

Personally, do we understand, “that a little leaven leavens the lump?”, lump meaning ourselves. Do we understand that a little sin defiles ourselves? If we add salt water to fresh water, what happens to the fresh water? It becomes salt water. This is the same with sin, if we add sin to something pure, it defiles the whole thing.

I think that many times as Christians we focus on doing “more”. Doing more good, worshipping more, praying more, reading the Word more. Now don’t get me wrong, these are all excellent things. But they are only one side of the coin. Jesus doesn’t want us to simply do more good. He wants to eliminate the bad or sin. We can so often focus on doing more things for Jesus, but we too often forget to eliminate the sin our lives. Now its great that you are adding good things into your life, but take a moment and think of the sin that you could be taking out. You might be praying more, but are you still bringing others down with your words? You may be worshipping Jesus more, but are you still worshipping your smartphone, or car, or whatever it is you worship other than Jesus. Maybe you’re reading the Word more, but are you still reading the gossip collums in magazines?

In conclusion, I would like us (yes, this is for me too), to think  about not only about the good things we can add, but the sin that we can throw out. We don’t have to be the church with most good going on, but lets make it a goal to be the church with the least sin retention. Let us be known for continuous throwing out of sin. Let us be Lifecoast, the unleavened church! Let us be ONE!

The Cross – ONE Series

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For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

I believe this passage really speaks the truth about this current generation. We live in a world, in a culture, where “the word of the cross is folly.” Folly, for those who don’t know, is another word for foolishness. We need to understand that the word of the cross (the Gospel) is foolishness to an unbeliever. It makes absolutely no sense. Why would someone else die for them? How does HIS death cover THEIR sins? Why do they deserve death, they’re a pretty good person, right? Without faith the cross is just silly. It doesn’t make much sense. The math just doesn’t add up [see what I did there].

“But to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  Well I think this sums it up quite nicely. To us, as christians, the word of the cross is the power of God. Let that resonate inside you for a moment. The power of God. Do you understand the power in that statement [sorry, I did it again]? What is the power of God? The power of God is what has defeated Satan. What conquered Satan was the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelations 12:10-12). Thats the word of the Cross. The blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony. That is the power of God. I love this so much. Friends let us never grow weary of the word of the cross!

22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

We need to understand that the people around us are going to demand signs and seek wisdom. There are always those people who are going to say, “prove it” or “tell me the exact ration of holiness Jesus’ has to the sin of the world ” (okay, I just made that one up).  People are always going to ask for signs or ask detailed questions that we may not be able to give them. But our job is not to give signs or give detailed answers, our job is to preach Christ and Christ crucified. Its just that simple. This isn’t going to satisfy everyone. To ones who cannot grasp grace it will be a stumbling block to those who refuse to believe it will be just foolishness. But once again, to us who are called, it is the power of God and the wisdom of God.

We cannot save anyone. Even if we say and do all the right things, we can’t do it. We can’t change anyone’s mind. We can’t prove to them that Jesus died for their sins. We just can’t. But what we can do is share the word of the Cross with everyone we meet. We share it and we let the power of God do the work. We don’t judge people for not believing. We don’t condemn them. We just love them like Jesus loved them. We lay our lives down for them as Jesus did for us on the cross. We give Him all the glory, all the honor, and all the praise. It all belongs to Him anyway. We simply preach Christ crucified.

Promises, Promises

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“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-11

I prepared a message for youth group this week and a particular truth stood out to me, so I thought I would share it with you.

I am doing a series on faith and this weeks topic was called “The Good Father.” I was focusing on putting faith in our perfect heavenly father. In the above Scripture we see how God loves to give good gifts to HIs children who ask. This truth brought up a question. What has God promised and what has God NOT promised? Now we as Christians know that God has promised us many things. But unfortunately, we have added some of our own promises. Have you noticed this? We claim these promises in Jesus name, but these promises are never found in Scripture. Here is a list of a few Scriptures where some of God’s promises are found.

Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 11:28-29, Isaiah 40:29-31, Philippians 4:19, Romans 8:37-39, Proverbs 1:33, John 14:27, Romans 10:9, Romans 6:23

Now those are things God has promised. But there are things God has not promised. He has not promised to keep bad things from happening, heal every illness, reverse the consequences of sin or that we will never face hardship. Yet, in some Christian circles, people are claiming that that Jesus will do these things. They claim that if you love Jesus, if you have enough faith, if you pray enough that Jesus will keep any bad things from happening, that you will be blessed financially, and that everything in your life will get better. But we need to understand that Jesus has never promised these things.

Here is a quote from the book, “The Barbarian Way” by Erwin McManus

“Instead of finding confidence to live as we should regardless of our circumstances, we have used it as justification to choose the path of least resistance, least difficulty, least sacrifice. Instead of concluding it is best to be wherever God wants us to be, we have decided that wherever it is best for us to be is where God wants us. Actually, God’s will for us is less about our comfort than it is about our contribution. God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance.” (pg. 44-45)

I think describes perfectly what we as humans do. We take what we think is best for us and we claim Jesus has promised these things when he really hasn’t. We forget that as a perfect Father, He would never dare give His children everything they ask for. (Can I get an Amen from the parents?) God has promised to give us good gifts and He is faithful to do just that. But He will not give us “good” things just because we think it is what’s best for us. He loves us too much for that to happen.

In conclusion, as we are going through this fast, let’s make sure that our expectations from God and from this fast are based on Biblical promises. I was once told, “The best way to know if something is counterfeit is to study and be so familiar with the original, that you can spot any inconsistency.” Let us study the Bible so much and become so familiar with it that we can spot any false promises or false teachings.